April 25 Board Meeting Action

April 12, 2024

Thursday, April 25, 2024
Central Platte NRD Office – 215 Kaufman Avenue in Grand Island, NE

Visit Kearney Urban Conservation Assistance Request Approved by Central Platte NRD Board

The Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) Board of Directors has approved a grant request from Visit Kearney for $25,000 to support the development of a wildlife exhibit within the new Kearney Visitors Bureau office and visitor center. This funding is part of CPNRD’s Urban Conservation Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to governmental entities—such as cities, counties, and villages—to establish, develop, and improve public recreation areas. The Kearney Visitors Center, currently under construction at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Talmadge Street, aims to educate visitors about the diverse natural environment and wildlife in Central Nebraska and Kearney. The newly approved project will offer visitors a unique experience to learn about cranes and local wildlife.

The Central Platte NRD Board approved this request and took the following actions during their April 25th monthly Board meeting.


Chelle Gillan, a Biology and Health Science teacher at Central City High School, brought two students to the Central Platte NRD Board meeting to present their research projects. Paul Johnson, a sophomore, presented his study titled, “A Study to Determine Correlation between Nitrates and Uranium in Central Nebraska Rural Wells.” His research explores the correlation between nitrate and uranium levels in rural wells across Central Nebraska, highlighting significant environmental and public health concerns. Dakota Sage, a junior, shared her research on “The Effects of Clothianidin on the Immobility & Mortality of Daphnia Magna.” Her project examined the impact of an insecticide on aquatic life.


Manager’s Report  Lyndon Vogt, General Manager, reported on two staff positions. Carrie Putnam has been hired as the Integrated Water Management Specialist to assist producers with the conservation programs available in both the Tri-Basin NRD and the Central Platte NRD. She will be based at the Tri-Basin NRD office in Holdrege. This position is funded through a grant. CPNRD is still seeking candidates to fill the Agronomist position. It is a 3-year grant-funded position, shared with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). The position focuses on gathering data to support federal cropping models and assisting producers with managing high residual nitrogen rates.

Vogt reported that rehabilitation of the Alda Crane Deck and the construction of the walking path are on track to be completed in June. He also said that LB 388, the Property Tax Growth Limitation Act, failed to pass on final reading on the 60th day, the last day of the session. Vogt also provided the following documents to the Board:

Conflict of Interest:  Information from Attorney, Don Blankenau, concerning a recent conflict of interest violation and fine.

IMP: Following the 2023 Robust review, which indicated that the CPNRD has successfully offset post-1997 depletions in the over-appropriated area, CPNRD is planning to send a letter to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) indicating that joint determination requires updates to the second increment Integrated Management Plan (IMP). A draft letter to start the update process was provided to the Board.

Platte Republican Diversion: DNR will be holding a public hearing May 23, 2024. The hearing notice with all the details is attached.

Violation Report  Luke Zakrzewski, GIS Image Analyst, reported that 50 violation notices were issued in 2023 for irrigating uncertified land or land not approved for irrigation through a transfer. Of these, 39 have been resolved, and 11 are still in the process of resolving their violations.

Variance/Appeals Committee  The Board approved an appeal request for a variance from a Buffalo County landowner to transfer irrigated acres out of Groundwater Management Area 9 in the Central Platte NRD to the Lower Loup NRD.

CPNRD-Ron Bishop Memorial Scholarship Program  Madelyn Graham from Grand Island was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for the 2024-2025 academic year. She is majoring in Environmental Science and Biology. The Board also approved changes to the scholarship program, extending the annual application deadline to June 15th and allowing applications from college sophomores through graduate students who are majoring in a natural resources-related field.

Cover Crop Cost Share Program  The Board approved an increase in cost-share for cover crops, providing 50% of the actual seed cost, with a maximum of $2,000. Cover crops are a beneficial tool for managing soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity, and wildlife in agroecosystems.

FY 2025 Budgets  The Programs Committee reviewed and referred the Cost Share and Information/Education budget requests to the Budget Committee. Both the Eastern Projects Committee and the Western Projects Committee reviewed their respective budget recommendations and also referred them to the Budget Committee.

Nebraska Natural Resources Commission (NNRC)  Mick Reynolds, Middle Platte Basin Representative, reported that the NNRC met on April 3rd.  Governor Pillen appointed Larry Mohrman as the Groundwater lrrigators representative and John Shadle as the Public Power representative. Tom Knutson, who represented Surface Water lrrigators, resigned from the Commission. Reynolds reported that the following project applications were received:

  • Twelve applications were received for review.
  • Four Large projects, requesting over $250,000, totaling $12 million.
  • Seven small projects, requesting $250,000 or less, totaling $816,000
  • One application was submitted for a combined sewer overflow separation project.
  • One project that was approved and partially funded last year with an unobligated balance of just over $1 million will be funded before funding any new projects this year.

Cost-Share  Six applications totaling $15,436 were approved through the Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation and the Central Platte NRD sensor-based management of fertigation, grazing deferment, flow meter and well decommissioning cost-share programs.

Natural Resources Conservation Service Report  Janelle Taubenheim, Resources Conservationist, provided detailed cost share reports for EQIP, CSP and CRP for the Kearney field office. She also reported on NSWCP’s locally funded programs. Joe Krolikowski, NRCS District Conservationist, provided a factsheet on Conservation Compliance and NRCS practices available for control of ephemeral gully (concentrated flow) erosion. The conservation practices are based upon the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide and the appropriate practice standard and are selected with various cropping systems and crop residue management methods that are common to the areas in the CPNRD that are most susceptible to sheet and rill and ephemeral gully erosion.

Upcoming Board Meetings  May 23, June 27, July 25
Central Platte NRD’s Board of Directors meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. at the CPNRD office located at 215 Kaufman Ave in Grand Island.